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Surval Ski Week 2019: “Diary from the Mountains”

Posted on: 6th February 2019 | Category: Academic Programmes, Surval Life, Winter Camp

Student Isabella, (G9, Mexico) vividly captures her experience of Ski Week in her daily journal, which she diligently updated on each evening of the trip; click here to read Ms O’Donnell’s article on the trip from a teacher’s perspective.

 

Sunday January 27th

When we woke up, we noticed that there was no sun around, and a lot of brilliant white snow. We had breakfast and headed up the mountain, but as soon as we got off the gondola, we found it was very windy so the visibility was not good and we couldn’t even stand up properly! We tried to warm up but it was almost impossible, so we had to go down to another slope, which was a little better, but the conditions were still hard. We stayed there practicing new techniques until we stopped to take a break, drinking delicious hot chocolate with our friends and instructors. Then we had our lunch and some time to relax.

When it was time to continue skiing, we were told that the gondola was closed for security reasons and we couldn’t ski on the top because of the conditions. We stayed skiing on another slope and, as I am a beginner, I was skiing on an easy one in front of the hotel, using the magic carpet to get on the top. My group and I continued in that part with the goal of getting confident enough to get to another slope, which was a little more difficult. We kept practicing until the instructor said that it was time to achieve our goal. We took the lift to the top of the other, steeper slope. At first everyone was nervous, but anxious to try. We began to hear the crunchiness of the snow under the skis and the other girls were supporting us, so we began to slide down the slope little by little. Everyone was falling but I was happy to see how everybody then got up and continued as if nothing had happened, and we started to get rid of our fears.

When we finished skiing, we went to the hotel to change. Then we had some free time, which I spent in the little village; I went to buy some stuff and to have some delicious crêpes with my friends. We returned to the hotel and then the teachers called us for dinner. We wanted to go ice-skating, but the weather conditions were still too poor, so it was cancelled; however, some girls had a fun snowball fight with some teachers instead! After that we were very tired, so everyone went to their own rooms to prepare for sleep and wait to have another awesome day.

 

Monday January 28th

Today started very well, with a sunny morning and a good breakfast, admiring the beautiful and bright snow falling onto the white carpet created on the ground. We noticed that the weather conditions were better than the other day and we started heading to the top of the mountain. When we arrived, we put our skis on and began to warm up. We took our first slope of the day and we appreciated the beautiful landscape covered in powder snow. We stayed improving our skills while having new challenges and fun.

We skied some bumps for the first time, and then we saw a yellow helicopter flying very closely to us. The instructor explained to us that it was preventing some dangerous strong avalanches in the mountains, by dropping some explosives that we heard more than once, to safely set off controlled avalanches. Next, we took our lunch at the top on the mountain, where we kept warm and relaxed in a nice place before continuing skiing. Then we tried a more difficult slope until we didn’t fall so much, getting better with our turns. We returned to the hotel to change our ski clothes and then walked a little around the village, doing some shopping. We had dinner and after we did some awesome sledding. Sledding was my favorite part of the day, because it was a little dark and the snow was very crunchy. When we started to slide, we could feel the adrenaline in our body making us happy, and we had some beautiful pictures in the company of our friends, which are going to stay forever in our lives.

 

Tuesday January 29th

When we woke up, we admired the sunrays getting through our window and all the brilliant snow on our balcony. We knew that it was going to be a very good day. We had our breakfast and we went to the top of the mountain. We were astonished because of the beautiful mountains covered completely in a very soft layer of snow that was very good for skiing. Every little step that we did, we could hear the relaxing sound of the snow breaking under our skis. We skied on different slopes with different difficulties, mainly trying to improve our turns. Everybody stopped to have our lunch in a very comfortable place on top of the mountain. We rested; and, after, we continued skiing until two of my friends fell and hurt themselves – one the knee and the other the hand and the leg. They couldn’t continue that day, so they had to go down. We stayed practising various new techniques, including skiing on one leg! Some of my classmates were scared of going down the slope like this, so each time we were less girls, even though the instructor tried to help them.

We went down the gondola because the light made it hard to see, but we continued skiing on one of my favourite slopes in the front of the hotel – a favourite because it is challenging, long and the conditions were almost perfect there. We finished skiing, and I was really happy at my progress: I only fell twice, and the instructors told me that they were really happy to see how I had improved so quickly.

Today some girls went to the spa after dinner, and some went out to have dinner. I went out to have a delicious hamburger in a place that had been recommended to me and my friends.  Then we returned to the hotel to prepare for bed and relax.

 

Wednesday January 30th

Today we were really tired, so the school let us rest all morning. I woke up around nine o’clock in the morning and prepared a delicious breakfast with my friends; we used the 


kitchen in our room to make some delicious “quesadillas” and some pizza. That was one of my favorite parts of the day. We ate our breakfast and changed for skiing. The weather was good but really cold, and it was still snowing, so there was a lot of powder snow, which made it really difficult to ski. Today again we had the opportunity to ski on the slope in front of the hotel, and by skiing that regularly, we improved our skills, because every time it felt easier to go down. We skied two different slopes: the first one was easier, so we used it as a warm up and, in the final part, we tried for the first time ever doing some jumping, which was so much fun. On the other hand, the second slope was longer and harder, so some girls were scared by it. But me, not this time! I was really proud of myself; I never fell all day long, and this time I was really trying some new exercises for improving position and control. As I was really happy, I stayed a little more time skiing with the other girls.

After finishing skiing, as always, we had some free time, which I spent in the hotel, taking a shower and enjoying the gorgeous view from my hotel room. Next, we had a meeting and after it, we had some dinner at the hotel, which was really delicious pizza that I think everyone enjoyed. I personally didn’t want to go to the spa so I stayed in the hotel with my sister and a friend, while some of the others went. We used the kitchen again to prepare some exquisite smores accompanied with some stracciatela ice cream, which was delicious.

In conclusion, today was one of the best days ever. I was really happy to see my progress, we tried some different tricks, we slept a lot, and we ate delicious food, all that in company with my friends. I can’t wait for tomorrow.

 

Thursday January 31st

Today was a very exciting day! We started the day as normal – woke up, got the gondola, and when we finally arrived, we did some blue slopes with bumps. As our goal for the week was to move up to the more difficult slopes, we finally did a red slope. I was so happy about it, because I didn’t fall. However, some others did, and they were scared because the weather became really hard to ski in: there was so much wind that we couldn’t even stand up properly; it was very cold, and the snow was all over us. Because of that problem we couldn’t continue. All the people were trying to use the gondola or to go to the restaurant until the weather become better – except that it didn’t…

The next surprise was that our instructor decided to take us down a black slope! Everybody was scared about it, but we were freezing, so we didn’t argue about it. At first everyone was very slow, 

so they had to divide us in two groups. When we finally finished our track, we were so proud of ourselves, and the weather was a little better downhill too. We finished getting down by the gondola and we got the bus to get back to the hotel all by ourselves. We had our lunch in the hotel, and that night, we went up again for more skiing. It was awesome: a torchlit descent. We all lit our own torch and went skiing downhill with it. I felt like a professional who was really excited about their improvement. A funny moment was that my sister burnt her glove with the torch – fortunately, it wasn’t serious, so it just became a funny memory.

Today we had our first red slope, our first black slope and a wonderful skiing experience. Thank you.

 

Friday February 1st

Today was our last day and it was different compared to the others. The weather conditions were extremely difficult to ski, so almost all the slopes were closed, and we could not get to the top of the mountain. Fortunately, the school thought of a great solution to enjoy our last day. They called to get a small bus to take us skiing in nearby Crans Montana. Meanwhile, as we were waiting for the bus, we did an activity to learn how to help people in case of an avalanche. It was fun.

I was part of the second group to take the bus, so we used the extra time of waiting to go for our last crêpes of ski week, and then tried to jump on an airbag which was three meters high! When we arrived at Crans Montana, after a twenty-five minute trip, we were fascinated by the differences there, like the trees and the different weather. At Crans Montana, we skied some different slopes, we learned how to take some different kinds of lifts, and we even did a red slope, which was part of the “forest”. It was a little windy and icy, so we couldn’t stop easily, but we never complained about it and we continued skiing. Later on, we all stopped to have lunch. I wasn’t hungry because of the crêpe, but I enjoyed having some time to relax and be warm.

We continued skiing until the time ran out. We did our last slope of the week, a red one, and really enjoyed that final track of a red slope. Then we took the bus to return to Anzère with a smile. We were proud of ourselves and thought about how much we had improved. And that evening, the instructors gave us our medals, and we had an exciting karaoke night, closing very happily this wonderful experience.

 

And finally…

To conclude I will just say that this experience will always stay in my mind; I will always remember it. The time really flies when you have good companionship and fun things to do.

We really used this week to improve our ski skills, and it is very noticeable in every movement: I started with a green slope and I finished with a red-black slope. And the challenging conditions that we faced helped us to improve really quickly.

In this short-time we really had the opportunity to appreciate nature around us; we really lived while we were there. We forgot about our problems, and just enjoyed the moment. It helped us not only to do some skiing, but also to have the opportunity to socialize with our classmates, with our instructors, and with our teachers; to have some new insta-poses and to try to be better every day, no matter what. Of course, we were tired, but every day we had the force to get out of bed and start another day with a positive mind.

This is a memory for life.


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